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Jul 29, 2009 10:21 AM

Food & Wine Scene in Houston

I am coming home for the first time in several years and I am wondering how the food and wine scene in Houston is going. What's new what's good? I have three nights to eat out where should I go? I hate the term "foodie" but I suppose that those are the types of restaurants that I am looking forward. I have read about a restaurant named Catalan? Is that worth checking out? Any recommendations would be appreciated.

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  1. Sounds like Washington Ave would be right up your alley, look for places around that area and search around, you'll find plenty of information. I'd also suggest Max's Wine Dive.

    1. Catalan is a great place on Washington to dine, as well as Benjy's if you are going to be in the area. There are several great wine bar/ restaurants on Washington and around the area like Block7(720 Shepherd), Cova(tapas) and Max's, as mentioned above. Max's can be hard to get into when it's busy.

      In the Rice Village, try Benjy's or Prego, a fantastic Italian place. Either way, call ahead. There is a Cova in the village, as well.

      BackStreet Cafe and Mark's are two of the cities finest restaurants, as well. Enjoy.

      1. Absolutely love Catalan. The food is great, lots of small plates that you can share with a friend, as well as big plates, and there are a lot of different wines to choose from, and reasonably priced. Not a lot of mark up. They have another "sister" location called Ibiza, which is along the same lines as far as food and wine go. There area a few reviews about Catalan on this board.

        I just heard about Cova's and someone said they had some reasonably priced wines, and good tapas, but haven't tried it yet. Anyone else ever gone?

        5 Replies
          1. re: csquared

            I have not been myself, but there have been several good reviews of Rioja here in the last few months. You can search this board and read them. They make me want to try it!

            1. re: csquared

              A friend and I had lunch at Rioja last Friday and were very happy. At lunch they offer a three-course tapas menu with many choices for $13.95, an excellent bargain. We both started with potatoes roasted in a spicy tomato sauce, then I had this fantastic sauteed spinach with raisins, garlic, and pine nuts, and manchego grated on top. (I'll definitely try to reproduce that at home.) Then there was a lovely pork tenderloin medallion, cooked medium, atop saffron rice that was dusted with that wonderful HOT smoked paprika, and manchego melted on top. My friend had red snapper, also served on saffron rice, and said it was excellent. The room is attractive, with a beautiful dark wood bar, and the servers were efficient and professional. I look forward to taking the DH there some evening.

            2. re: danhole

              We went to Cova's Kirby location once, a couple of years ago. We enjoyed the wines, and the oxtails were out of this world. I think one of the cheeses on our cheese plate was off. I mean, I don't mind a strong-flavored cheese, but I don't think any cheese is supposed to taste or smell like ammonia. Everything else was good, though.

              1. re: zorra


                You are quite the experienced diner, aren't you? ;-) Cheese that smells like ammonia is not a good thing. The person who told me about Cova's said the steak was really good, but that is all he could say. But he has cattle so I guess he is just all about the beef.


            3. If you're looking for wine/food, the best two are Catalan and Reef. Selection is probably better at Catalan, but both have the most best pricing models that you will find in the city. Meaning, fair markups, instead of the standard 2.5-3x that you'll find everywhere else.